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$245M Fortnite FTC fine closed

The Federal Trade Commission has completed a $245 million settlement of Epic Games. Here’s what you need to know about Fortnite’s FTC fine.

In December 2022, it was announced that the FTC would fine Fortnite over $500 million over two separate complaints about developer and publisher Epic Games’ conduct. $275 million for COPPA, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, violations and another $245 million for using “dark patterns”. On March 14, 2023, the FTC closed its $245 million dark pattern complaint against Epic Games.

Fortnite FTC fine suspended for COPPA violations

The Federal Trade Commission fined Epic Games $245 million for the company’s use of dark patterns. Dark patterns are intentional design elements that encourage customers to make unintended purchases, disguise refunds, and generally abuse UI choices to make purchases more likely and refunds less likely. According to the FTC

“Epic employed a variety of design tricks known as dark patterns to trick consumers of all ages into making unintentional in-game purchases. Fortnite’s counter-intuitive, conflicting, and confusing button configuration resulted in players incurring unwanted costs based on pressing a single button. The company has also made it easy for children to make purchases while playing Fortnite without requiring parental consent,” the Federal Trade Commission said in an official statement.

The $245 million fine will be used to provide refunds to Fortnite customers affected by Epic Games’ use of Dark Patterns. According to the FTC, these affected customers fall into several categories. These are the three categories of customers that the FTC says are eligible for a refund.

  • Parents whose children made an unauthorized credit card purchase from the Epic Games Store between January 2017 and November 2018
  • Fortnite players who were charged in-game currency (V-Bucks) for unwanted in-game items (such as cosmetics, llamas, or Battle Passes) between January 2017 and September 2022
  • Fortnite players who had their accounts suspended between January 2017 and September 2022 after disputed unauthorized charges with their credit card companies.

If you feel you are entitled to a refund as a result of the Fortnite FTC fine, visit FTC.gov/Fortnite for more details. This fine is the only one that will make its way back to Fortnite’s customers, with the COPPA violations being a more traditional regulatory fine.

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